Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bits and Pieces on a Sunday

1. This weekend has been lovely so far. On Saturday morning I went on a hike with Rob's crew mate's girlfriend and her husky beastie.  Cypress loves huskies, especially male ones, so they got along really well.  Unfortunately Cypress took the "newness" of a new friend and beastie as an excuse to act like a shithead, and she appropriately proceeded to eat a bunch of shit she found.  I was pretty furious. Luckily I had some extra antibiotics from her last shit-experience and she seems to be fine.

2. I'm sorry, truly sorry for writing so much about my dog's shit on here.  Rob told me the other day that I probably sound like a STFU Parents submission, just with my dog instead of a kid.  Ashamed face.

3.  I really enjoyed spending time with Rob's crew mate's girlfriend and we're already making plans to hang out again soon.  I think having someone nearby to hang out with and who understands all this nonsense will be super helpful.

4. My therapist and I were talking about staying busy this summer--in hopes of not going totally apeshit again when Rob inevitably leaves--and she had the idea of taking a class at the local community college.  I looked around and I can take some online graphic design/Photoshop classes, plus maybe a language class or two, or only $99 a piece. Not too shabs, right? I doubt I'll learn anything completely revolutionary but the structure will help keep me busy and (hopefully) not too terrified of Rob getting hurt or leaving me for good.

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5.  Friday night was pretty rough even with Rob back.  He fell the fuck asleep within seconds of going to bed so I got up and did some of my therapy worksheets which helped a ton.  I already feel like I'm in a much better place and hopefully Rob's next fire trip--which could last as long as 14 days--won't be as difficult as this last one. Yesterday I likened the whole thing to my fitness journey, and bear with me as I explain this metaphor. The first day I broke down my muscles (my emotional strength), dealt with the pain of the fallout, and as I get more experience my body (mind) rebuilds itself and is made even stronger for when things get more difficult.  Cheesy, and probably a little tortured, but it's working for me so I'll go with it.

6. All of these points are about Rob and fires and things, and I feel like I've been far too whiny about it lately so let me deviate a bit.  Does anyone have any advice for baking with a gas oven? I've tried several iterations of our favorite Nutella lava cookies in various temperatures and they still end up with charred bottoms. Did anyone else giggle at "charred bottoms?" Because I totally did.

7. I'm not going to apologize for it, since I'm sure your sun does not rise and set on what I write here and won't pretend as such, but my blog has really been kind of "meh" lately.  I had a burst of inspiration but sadly the funk I found myself in last week sapped me of all my energy to write, hence this really lazy post. Anyone have any blogspiration tips that don't include DIY projects? Because I fucking suck at those.

8. Someone posted this on Facebook and it made me laugh for a really long time, so I'm sharing it with you.

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9. Okay my friends, tell me something happy about your weekend! Do it! Now!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

After Nine to Five Giveaway Winner

The winner of the After Nine to Five giveaway is Mary Gilliam of Mommaruthsays!  

Congrats, Mary! I sent you (and Ashley) an email earlier today so you should be all set!

Thanks everyone for entering!

Also, so this post isn't all about giveaways, here's my dog being cute:

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Day

First of all, I want to thank you all for the amazingly sweet, awesome comments, Tweets, and emails you sent me about my post yesterday.  I don't have a lot of friends nearby but it's nice to know I have such great ones living inside my computer.  I love you all.

Today was a much better day than the last few.  Yesterday I talked through the whole missing-Rob-thinking-he's-in-Iraq thing with my therapist and was in a much better place with the whole thing.  I woke up dreading doing my Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 exercise, not so much because it's tiring but because I'm tired of watching the exact same sequence that I have for the last 5 days.  Instead I went for a run with Cypress and it totally kicked my ass, so, win.

Just before my run Rob sent me a text saying he was on his way home and would be off by 6pm! I just about totally danced for joy. I couldn't stop smiling.

After getting a ton of work done I took Cypress for a walk and Robbie called me for the first time since Tuesday.  I was so, so fucking excited to hear his voice.  It's 5pm now so he should be home in an hour and a half, assuming no fires have popped up here in Santa Fe.

I stopped by the mailbox and found that my giveaway prize from Zelde's blog had arrived all the way from the UK! I won a hard boiled egg shaper thingy that's adorable and she also sent me some of her favorite Swiss milk chocolate!

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As a side note, the ingredients on this chocolate are listed in two languages (German and French), neither of which I speak.  Could anyone tell me for sure if this chocolate has flour or barley malt or other gluten-y things in it? I want to chow down.

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The final amazing 1/2 part of my day was that Cypress was finally able to go to the bathroom with no difficulty/diarrhea, etc.  I know, this is so gross, and I promise I won't show you a picture of it or anything...I've just been so anxious about her for the last week and it was such a relief to know she's okay.

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The only semi-bummer of the day was that it turns out Rob wasn't gone long enough to warrant giving him another weekend (since his "weekend" was Wednesday and Thursday and he was on the fire for both of those days), so he'll be back to work on the normal schedule tomorrow.  I'm just crossing my fingers they don't get called out between now and Tuesday so we can at least have somewhat of a weekend together.

But tomorrow I've made plans with Rob's crew mate's girlfriend to get our beasties together for a hike! So it's not all bad.

I hope you all had a great week, and once again, thanks for your continued support!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Self-Indulgent Whining

I am about to engage in some hardcore whining. If you're one of those people who blogs or tweets about how negative and complain-y the blog world gets, you might want to skip past this one.

Rob's been gone since Tuesday and I have been totally blindsided by how much if affected me.  As I told you guys in my TILT post, I got the text that he was leaving and just totally dissolved into tears.  I knew it was coming but I don't think that I adequately prepared myself for how I'd react when it finally did happen, despite having around 4 months to do so.

I'll be honest, this feels like Iraq all over again.  I know deep down he's so much safer doing this for several reasons (the main one being that fire doesn't usually try to kill you, and as we all know the fire insurgents haven't used IEDs for years) but for some reason my mind and my whole body go back to that year where I didn't know if the next phone call from his parents would be to tell me that he was gone.  My phone comes with me everywhere, including to the bathroom, on walks with Cypress, or when I move from one room to another (in our two-room casita).  My mind is flooded with images of him being hurt and me not being there, or of coming home from a walk with Cypress to see men in fire-suits at my door (I don't know how the whole notification thing happens with the Forest Service if you can't tell).  In between the spurts of crying I feel like a total zombie.

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A pretty cactus flower picture to break up the text and remind you that I'M IN THE DESERT. P.S. doesn't this flower look kind of fake?

I imagine if you're a military spouse and you're reading this it probably comes across as pretty annoying; truthfully I was and still am annoyed when people compare relatively normal work trips to deployments. I just honestly don't know how else to deal with this shit.  The only time I had to worry about my husband being killed (other than now) was when he was in Iraq and that's my only point of reference.

I feel really angry, angry at Rob for always wanting to do dangerous jobs without thinking about how hard it can be at home and angry at myself for being angry about it and turning it into something that's about me.  I'm worried, worried that he isn't calling because something went wrong or that he just doesn't want to talk to me (I know, I know).  I'm scared of finding myself alone, or that Rob will be horribly burned or otherwise injured.

This is the first of many fire trips and I know eventually I'll get numb, just like I did during the deployment.  In between my bitchin' pity parties I'm also trying to "check the facts," as my therapist says, and remember that though this job is more dangerous than my job he's still as safe as he could possibly be.

 Sometimes the PTSD just rears its ugly head and  makes it absolutely impossible for me to put shit in the correct context--which is where you and my blog come in, so thank you.

Thanks for "listening," guys, you're all awesome.

Things I Love Thursday

This week's TILT probably isn't that great. I haven't been feeling me the last few days, I hope you'll forgive me.

The Photoshop Troll - I had a hearty laugh at many of these.  Thanks Nova!

Check out these wicked cool double exposures.

This awesome website Drinkify - enter the music you are listening to and it suggests a drink recipe to accompany that music.

Really cool examples of forced perspective photography.

This awesome moment between a wild bobcat and a housecat (thanks to my lovely friend Jessica for this).

I've had a pretty shitty week and this video always makes me smile.

Why the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 is the worst idea ever.

Young People in the Recession: The War Against Youth.

This guy took video of his daughter every week from birth to 12 years old.  The time lapse video he created from those shorter videos is pretty neat.

Neat things to do with upcycled shutters.  My brain aches from the hipster aura that is oozing from this page, but whatevs, they're pretty.

Nerdy Day Trips. We're planning a trip to England/Ireland/Scotland and I think this could be pretty helpful!

The Evolution of Corporate Logos.

This site has lots of cool things, like Disney Star Wars, Famous Hairstyles, and freaking awesome Backyard Offices.

Your Scene Sucks.

The history of the bikini.

If you can't tell when I get even a little sad I transition to "super melancholy" pretty quickly, especially when it comes to Rob. I'm almost ashamed to tell you guys how stressed and bummed I've been the last few days when I know firsthand that it could be so much worse. I hope you'll still love me.  Anyway usually when this feeling sort of descends on me I listen to sad (and still awesome) music, like this song and this song.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Some Observations You Didn't Ask For

1. My iPod ran out of battery power so while it was charging I had to listen to the radio in the car.  I am one of those people whose brains light the fuck up for catchy, nonsense pop songs, but I gotta say that for the most part the allure of new top 40 music totally eludes me.  For example, I can't stand Adele.  That song where she strains neighs "I set feouririeerr to the reeihghhgghn" literally makes me cringe (it doesn't help that during our 4-day cross country trip I heard this song literally 17 times a day). Someone told me that Adele "strains her alto range" which I think is totally true. She's talented and gorgeous, but I think she makes the blood vessels in my eyes pop.

2. The band One Direction absolutely fascinates me. That "You Don't Know You're Beautiful" song is super catchy but I just find myself totally shocked that manufactured boy bands are, you know, a thing again. Listening to that song I think, "holy shit prepubescent ladies (and some boys I'm sure), how are you not aware at how manufactured these songs are and how obviously they are pandering to you? Christ, none of these boys are even from the same town, they were literally dragged together by a faceless record company solely to cater to your ever-changing tastes!" and then I realize holyfuckingshit, I bought into that shit back in the late 90s with N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys!  The cycle of tween girls falling all over themselves for impossibly attractive early 20-something boys continues.

3. And finally in the "music" category of my crotchety post, how about this song from Karmin?  First off, the male part of Karmin, Nick Noonan, is from Maine and went to a high school from which many of my friends graduated (we also graduated the same year, and I just looked up the girl on the Facebooks and we have a mutual friend).  Anyway I much preferred this band when they were doing silly raps on YouTube rather than the manufactured pop crap they're churning out now, but that "Brokenhearted" song is catchy and as previously mentioned, I'm a sucker for catchy songs.  I've even been singing modifications of it to Cypress using all her nicknames ("I've been waiting allll dayyyy for you to call me Diiiiddllerrrr...Honest, Scrabbler, Iiiii'd doooo anything Dids wannnnts toooooo").  I might be sitting at home alone too much.

4. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said "Report drunk drivers at #DWI" and my first thought was, "the police are monitoring hashtags on Twitter now?"

5. Robbie got called out for the first time yesterday. It was rough, guys. I got the text and immediately burst into tears (yayyy PTSD), then sort of shut down and cleaned for awhile.  I'm better now, and I think it'll get easier, but for now I'm wallowing a little, don't mind me. The upside is that Rob got me the number of a fellow significant other who has one fire season already under her belt.  She's really nice and we texted for a couple of hours last night; I think we're going to get our beasties together this weekend assuming the boys are still gone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recap of a Crazy Monday

Shit, it's only Tuesday and it has already been a crazy week.

First off I have like three projects going on at work so I've been juggling all of those, but let's face it, who wants to hear about work? Not you guys.

Cypress has still been sick which has been a relatively constant source of stress.  Once she stopped eating her food--even after I threw some Fruity Pebbles--I decided to take her to the vet along with a fecal sample (GOOD MORNING BREAKFAST TIME).  Of course as soon as we got there they gave her a treat and she gobbled that shit right up.  Picky little bitch. Anyway to make sure she didn't have a blockage they suggested x-rays, and since I'd generally rather spend money than feel anxious I totally went for it.  No blockages, thankfully, but the vet did point out to me that she has hip dysplasia, which made me really sad.  I know it's pretty minor in the scheme of things, and we haven't seen any ill effects (no hopping or limping), but it just reminds me that she's not a forever beast.  Couple that with the fact that on the "reminders" they left on my bill her appointment next year is labeled "Senior Wellness Visit" and I was a little emotional all day. She'll only be 5 next year, how is that a senior?

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Maybe she can get us a discount at the movies?

In other news, yesterday was Day #2 of Ripped in 30.  I won't lie to you, that shit is fucking me up.  Yesterday morning I was literally more sore than I've ever been, like literally every muscle in my body was screaming. I decided to push through the pain because I'm badass like that, but afterward I felt about 30 times worse.  For the rest of the day I couldn't move without feeling pain and for some reason nausea; I don't think I've ever looked more forward to going to bed than I did last night.  I'm complaining a lot but I'm pretty proud of my lazy ass for [clearly] pushing myself beyond my comfort level.  I think today will be a rest day but tomorrow, I'm back to showing my body what's up.

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Laying in bed, unable to move.

Robbie's been on a different schedule these last few days, going in at 7:30am and coming back at about 7 or 7:30pm. I know it's only a few extra hours on either end but it feels like he's gone for days.  Yeah, yeah, I'm dramatic.  He's starting to do more fire-based things (preparing the woods for controlled burns, etc.) and I think he's enjoying it.  He complains about his feet hurting and his arms being scratched all to hell from the brush, but he likes that shit even if he doesn't admit it.  We've both been pretty pathetic though, moaning about our various pains.  Somehow we became 80 years old overnight.

What have you guys been up to? I hope your respective weeks are positively magical.

Monday, April 23, 2012

(CLOSED) GIVEAWAY: Win a $20 Credit to After Nine to Five Decor!

I've said this many times, but one of the things I love most about blogging is meeting new and awesome people I never would've known otherwise.

Ashley is one of the most ambitious, friendly and interesting bloggers I've met so far.  She recently opened up a new shop with her husband called After Nine to Five Decor where she sells awesome decals,  prints, ebooks, and consulting and design services.  She asked me to review one of the items for a giveaway on my blog, and since I always like to support small businesses so I was happy to do so!

For my review I chose the Retro Polaroid "Serial Shooter" print.

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First of all the print was of very high quality and the colors were vibrant and gorgeous.  As you can see I've set it up on my desk, where I do most of my editing work.  I like it there but I might also hang it up on my wall soon. The packaging was very professional and ensured that the print came to me in the best condition possible.  For her part, Ashley was great to work with and once I had chosen my item it came very quickly.  I'm very, very pleased with it and with the shop!

The Giveaway

Ashley is generous enough to give away a $20 credit to be used toward any one or combination of prints or decals to one of my readers!

Mandatory Entry:

To enter, leave a comment telling me what you'd spend the $20 credit on.  Make sure to include your email address!

Optional Entries (leave a separate comment for each!):

1. Follow the After Nine to Five blog.
2. Follow Ashley on Twitter.
3. "Like" After Nine to Five on Facebook.
4. Tweet about this giveaway. Make sure to include @afterninetofive and @electriccaitlin!
5. Write about this giveaway on your blog or Tumblr (leave me a link in your comment please!).

The giveaway will end this Thursday and I'll announce the winner on Friday.  Good luck!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Santa Fe says Buenas Noches

Some sunset photos for your evening:

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I hope you all had a great weekend! On to Monday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fitness, Food and New Chapters

If you've stuck around this blog long enough (thank you for those that do stick around, by the way; shit gets downright nutty up in here) you'll know that at any one time I'm usually having some sort of crisis of self in which I'm trying to figure out just what the hell I'm doing in life.  I always feel like I'm just about to latch onto The Answer, the thing that's going to help me get over my depression and anxiety hurdles and allow me to feel like a normal person.

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Normality!

I don't have to tell most of you you that it's not really that easy. I'm of the mind that there's really no one answer to help us "deal with our shit" as the kids say; drugs and therapy can and do help, particularly when they're paired together, but ultimately the change has to come from within. This is part of the reason I went off anti-depressants a few years ago--the constant increasing of dosages and shifting of drugs and side effects weren't forcing or even allowing me to deal with either the root causes of my anxiety nor the manifestations. Anti-depressants kept me in a sort of numbed state, no better nor worse than I was before. If I stopped the pills for any period of time the anxiety and depression were waiting just around the corner to attack again.

I personally wasn't really capable of objectively evaluating my life and my anxiety, which is where therapy came in in a big way.  Therapy back in Maine helped me wade through a lot of my own thoughts and feelings and come to some measure of peace, or the closest thing I'd felt to peace in a long time.  I'm continuing the therapy train here and though I've only been to two sessions I'm already starting to feel even more grounded.

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Now that I feel like I'm getting closer to feeling normal there are some changes that I really want to make, specifically surrounding my relationship with food and fitness.

Rob finds it interesting that I have almost an emotional relationship with food since he hardly has one at all outside of "get in my fucking mouth." Because of that he's able to eat relatively healthy food with a little bit of gross stuff every now and again.  Me, I love all junk food.  If I didn't have celiac disease I'd probably be eating Burger King for lunch today instead of peanut butter and jelly or leftover gluten-free pizza. That pretty Easter basket I made Rob a few weeks ago? I ate probably 80% of that candy without even realizing I was doing it.  I really want to work on my emotions surrounding food and learn how not to give into every craving my body has for sweet food.*

The second issue I'd like to deal with is how I approach fitness.  My struggles with the gym and with body dysmorphia have been well-documented here, but suffice it to say that my insecurity at the gym led to more hatred of myself, which led to more or less of a "fuck it" mentality when it came to drudging up motivation to work out. Now that I'm reaching my mid-to-late twenties, I've come to the realization that habits like eating healthier and staying fit start now and could be harder to approach as I get older.  I want to be strong and to take care of my body so that it will take care of me into my droopy old age.

Rob and I talked at length about the fitness part of it, since going to the gym was basically not an option because of the anxiety it gave me and the subsequently increased chance of burning out quickly.  He suggested I buy a Jillian Michaels DVD (specifically "Ripped in 30") and start out here at home.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders--not only did I not have to worry about finding a new gym, I could do an extremely effective workout program at home to help gain confidence and maybe one day go to a gym.  I ordered it online and I should get it by Monday, at which time my friend Justine and I plan on keeping each other accountable (read: guilty, because that's my main motivator) to do the workouts every day, no matter how tired or sore we may be from the day before.

I know this may sound schmaltzy but I'm really excited to start a new phase of my own personal therapy and get my body to a place where I am proud of it (and keep it there).  It's time to get the fuck off my ass, stop staring at the Internet all day and do something physical.  Anyway let's face it, our bodies are far too awesome to not take care of them the best we can.

I'd love to hear any tips from you guys about food issues or fitness.  And if you made it through that jumble of thoughts props to you! It's been a long morning.

*Funny story: when I worked at a hospital right out of college I craved sweet food so often that my coworkers suggested I get tested for diabetes. Luckily I didn't have it but the celiac diagnosis came just a year later.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bits & Pieces from This Week

Anyone else floored that it's Friday? I'm excited for no work but a little bummed that Rob's weekend is already over and he'll be working for the next two days.  Le sigh.

Anyway here are some goings-on from our week:

1. At about 4:30 this morning Rob shot out of bed after hearing a noise in the living room.  He came back to tell me that Cypress was sick and had pooped all over the floor.  This happens every few months when she does something stupid and dog-like, such as eating coyote or cat poop or some plant she shouldn't eat. What's frustrating about it is that since she's you know, a fucking dog, she doesn't really understand the causal relationship between eating something she knows she'd get in trouble for and later feeling sick. She's feeling a little better now that she's empty, so to speak, but I can still hear her stomach rumbling.  Let's hope the floor is not befouled when I come back from my haircut this evening.

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Grosser than she looks.

2. Funny story that probably won't be as funny when it's written out: The other night I was playing Draw Something before bed, as I do most nights. For those of you who don't play Draw Something, the game combines two-word clues into one word for some reason, and last night I got the word "baberuth." Rob usually looks over my shoulder and watches me draw, and when he saw me pick that one he said "What's a bah-be-ruth?" It reminded me (1) of "The Sandlot" and (2) of this part in "Strange Wilderness" where Jonah Hill's character says in reference to Jack Nicholson, "who the fuck is Jack Nocklason?" Hilarious. We laughed for a good 5 minutes.

3. Yesterday Rob and I took a little afternoon trip downtown.  The main goal of the trip was to buy some New Mexico-y things for Rochelle's care package but I also wanted to take Rob to a pizza-centric restaurant that has gluten-free pizza.  Delish!  

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4. Apparently you can buy single-serving pickles. Thanks, Flanagan!

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5. I've been forgetting to mention this in my posts about how awesome my domestic skills are, but I have been rocking plant-watering.  Our neighbors/landlords asked us to water their plants while they're away for a bit, and not only have most of the plants survived, some have positively flourished.  Sadly today I went over and a couple of the leaves are yellow, which Rob tells me can be due to overwatering, so I guess I'll have to check my zeal for the next few weeks.

6. One interesting thing I'm finding about Santa Fe is how confusing it is to drive in.  The town is 400+ years old, so streets just jut off into nowhere or randomly become one-way streets, or there are two streets with the same name that don't connect. Frankly it's a lot like New England. I've always admired every other city I've been to west of the Mississippi for their extremely logical highway systems and grid structures, but Santa Fe reminds me of a mini-Boston minus the rotaries and mean Massholes.

7. Now for a positive note.  I love, love, love the fact that there are no bugs in the desert.  Rob is quick to tell me every single goddamn time I bring this up that "it's because there's no water here, Caitlin," but I don't even care. In Maine when it's as warm as it's been here lately--usually around late May and June in Maine, barring this winter/spring--there are more blackflies than there are people in the world swarming around your head as soon as you step outside.  After the blackflies come the mosquitoes, and then the deer flies.  I could never walk Cypress without a gallon of 78% DEET bugspray (I know I know, carcinogen blah blah, but that hippie shit made from unicorn essence just plain doesn't work) and an electronic fly swatter. Despite the fact that by writing this I'm setting myself up for waking up one morning with a giant tarantula in my mouth, I stand by the fact that having no biting insects is fucking awesome.

8: Edited to add that I implemented Disqus on my blog.  Does this totally annoy the shit out of anybody? Because I like Disqus so much better than Blogger comments.  Hopefully it doesn't keep any of you from commenting!

I hope you've all had a great week and an even better weekend! I guess without Rob I'm going to do some self-pity shopping at Target and maybe go downtown to enjoy the 70-degree temperatures. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

I started following a new blog the other day, and she has some excellent advice for how not to go insane when you have to deal with word verification while blog commenting. Seriously guys, ditch the word verification, but in the mean time, Expecto Patronum!

How to Get More Likes on Facebook.

Make any photo 3D in Photoshop!

Kurt Vonnegut's 8 Tips on How to Write a Great Story.  Somehow I don't think these tips will allow you to write like Vonnegut, but hey, worth a try eh?

I really liked Alice's post on history and those historical events people may not know about.

A Christian group apologizes at a Chicago Pride Parade.  This totally warmed my heart. My favorite line: "I hugged a man in his underwear.  I think Jesus would have too."

Worst Album Covers of All Time. Some of these are NSFW.  I think my favorite is the German Dwight Schtrute-ish one.

A Guide to Maine Slang. This made me miss home and feel like I was in high school again. Jeezum crow.

Vacationland: Rural Maine Chronicled in the Photography of Steven Rubin.  For the record these images weren't taken in the part of Maine where I grew up, but they easily could have been.

15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy.  I think I might've posted this ages ago but it bears repetition. Thanks to Julia for this :)

The 21 Absolute Worst Things in the World.

Behind the Scenes "Star Wars" Photos.

63 Reasons why Boybands were Better in the 90s. I don't agree they were better or even passable but damn, those photos brought me back. I looked at every single one, and then simultaneously laughed and cried at myself.

When I had cancer at age 4 or so, my parents took me to Camp Rainbow, a non-profit camp for children with cancer and their parents.  I went almost every year until I was 14 or 15, and after that became a program aid and a counselor.  The camp is still going on and gets news coverage just about every year (my first year there I was in the newspaper!) and here is this year's article.  I was totally floored that the kid they interviewed, who is now a counselor himself, was one of my campers in Arts and Crafts class.

5 Reasons Women will Rule the Future.

Blooper reel from the Subaru "Dog Tested" commercials.  I'm amazed at how much smarter these dogs are than Cypress.

In case you were wondering, here is the recipe to that stew I talked about in my last post. Honestly, it could've done without the olives.

15 Important Moments in History (If Social Media was Around).

Most of you have probably read this but it's so awesome I'm posting it.  Ashley Judd Slaps Media in the Face for Speculation over her "Puffy" Appearance.  Fuck yeah Ashley Judd!

One Handbag to Rule Them All

So my new handbag from Hold Fast Handbags came a few days ago.

You guys. Seriously.

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This bag is awesome and this bag is badass. This bag could take both a Louis Vuitton and a Coach purse into a dark alley and beat the shit out of them without scuffing her shoes or smudging her bright-red lipstick. Not only is this the most well-made purse I've ever owned it is also the most gorgeous one I've ever set eyes on. It's the perfect size to fit all of my various purse things, is sturdy as hell, the straps stay on my shoulders while moving (this is a huge problem I have with most purses) and let's face it, it increases my coolness rating by at least 70%.

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Verdict: Cooler. And ignore my awkward hair and stance and lighting.

Dramatic? Hyperbolic? Perhaps. But I have been drooling over this bag for about a year and a half and what can I say, I love it. I already want 18 more of them in every color combination. If you want a distinctly rockabilly look in your purse, I promise that Hold Fast Handbags are totally worth the price.

For the record, I'd like to say that I received no compensation from Hold Fast Handbags in exchange for writing this review. The opinions expressed are purely mine, and I wrote this post only to support Randi and her awesome handmade business. She sells cloth bags like mine, but also awesome glittery vinyl bags (exclamation point!) in any color/fabric combination that you wish. Along with regular handbags, Randi also makes travel bags, coin purses and cosmetic bags, and clutches.

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You can find Randi on Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, or on her website.

Stay tuned for my links post later today!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Adventures in Domesticity

I talked at length in this post about how my newest role of "working housewife" has been suiting me relatively well.  I figured since now I'm another week out I could share some of my amazing accomplishments as said housewife.

I imagine those of you who are actual housewives with kids and shit are probably rolling your eyes at me, but I promise, for someone as lazy as I am these are real feats.

First off, on Sunday, I made a fucking stew.  That's right, my friends, a stew, and a relatively complex one at that.  I almost had it ready as soon as Rob came through the door, how is that for wifely service?

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Also on Sunday, I did all the grocery shopping for the next few days, bought Rob stuff he's been needing for work at Target (since he could get called out any day now), made the bed, walked the dog twice, picked up some prescriptions and bought the dog a new toy she loved, and planned a care package swap with this lovely lady involving some of my husband's favorite real Vermont maple syrup.  When he came home I told him of all these accomplishments, then immediately informed him that because of them he owed me dinner out some night while he's still around.  Kind of ruins the whole point of the "partnership" thing, but whatever, mama needs a margarita at Harry's and I walked the dog outside for Christ's sake. Twice.

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OUTSIDE!

On Monday I finagled some VA stuff for him because he forgot to tell them he was leaving Maine (whoops), made dinner and did all of the dinner dishes, and let him watch the hockey game in peace while I read a book.  Does that last thing make us stereotypes? Because usually I like watching hockey, I just wasn't into it that night and Nicholas and Alexandra is getting really good.

Finally yesterday I did more grocery shopping and drove to Target just to get the peanut butter he likes and some non-health-food-store cereal, as well as some other items he's been needing for work.  I did all of these things (on Monday and Tuesday at least) while working a full 8 hours here at home.   Oh, and no big deal, but I had dinner ready when he came home

SUPERWOMAN.

All joking and faux narcissism aside, I'm still enjoying having the ability to get all of these little things done around the house. It's been tough since I'm also on a project, but one of the great things about my job is the flexibility in when I can get shit done (and I do get shit done) and I'm taking full advantage of it.

Today is bittersweet, since though Rob is off of work technically, it's the first day his crew could be called up to go out on a fire.  As of today they could get sent anywhere in the U.S. for up to two whole weeks.  I'd just gotten used to the 5 days/week, 9am-6pm schedule so I can already feel myself detaching a bit in preparation for him being gone.  I just hope I make it through this summer with my sanity--or what's left of it after years of baggage--more or less intact.

I hope you're all having a great week so far.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Annoy Myself & Here's Why!

I know I've been really into these "Things That..." posts lately but what can I say, they're fun to write.  This one will be pretty easy to write, since it's about my awkward self, something that I am constantly and painfully aware of.

I got the idea to write a "Things That Annoy Me About Myself" (yeah, that's great syntax, I know) from Lauren, who is a lovely person.

1. My tendency to take constructive criticism extremely personally.  Be it "your writing could use some work," "make sure to include a subject with that work email you sent," or "please stop asking me if I still love you," I automatically and unquestioningly take it as a deep, cutting remark against who I am as a person.  I'm a bad person, I'm annoying, I'm obnoxious, you get the point.  I then assume that the other person, who of course always has the moral high ground over me, is also thinking non-stop about how awful I am because of that one indiscretion and that they have made a final, permanent judgement on me. This is why in my blog posts you'll always see apologies and "scare quotes" and endless qualifications: I try, as much as possible, to preempt the stream of criticism that may fall upon my head.

2. My inability to do anything creative correctly.  This is hard to explain, but I feel like whenever I've tried to copy something creative, like a clothing style for example, it always winds up looking like a "poor man's" version of that thing.  Take my blog, for example.  I try to make it look like all of your well-structured and matching blogs, but it just doesn't.  Apart from my awesome header made by Jess, my blog looks like Cypress ate Photoshop and dafont.com and vomited them up onto your screen. Shit doesn't line up, the fonts aren't interesting, and I have no idea what colors to use aside from the very obvious ones, no matter how hard I try. I visit friends and they have lovely coordinated bathrooms, but our bathroom is a hodgepodge of hand-me-down towels of various colors, whatever handsoap was cheapest, and the shower curtain that came with the place.  I just don't get complementary colors or how people can just do shit and it looks awesome.

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Gratuitous love photo because the blogs tell me that people don't like too much text and what can I say, I live to serve.

3. My total lack of impulse control.  If I want something and I have the money, it's mine. If I have an itch, I scratch it, even if scratching it isn't what's best for me (interestingly I can resist scratching when I'm dealing with a tattoo that's healing, but Rob will still tell you that I act totally nuts).

4. I pull away when I'm upset.  Whenever I'm anticipating feeling hurt or lonely, I pull away, but not subtly or nobly or humbly; I do it in a really stupid, passive aggressive way that is totally noticeable to anyone who knows me even halfway decently.  I can't even do emotional distance correctly.

5. I don't drink water enough. I really like juice. And chocolate milk.  Water is fucking boring.

6. My talent(?) for taking any compliment and finding a negative in it.  This one's pretty self-explanatory.  You like my writing? You'll probably hate my next 5 posts because I'm trying too hard.  My shirt is nice? You wouldn't think so if you saw me in real life.

7. I hate leftovers.  My dad also hates leftovers so as a kid we didn't eat them all that much.  Even the smell of leftovers--despite the fact that they generally smell the same as they did the night before--can make me physically sick.  I must just be a picky, privileged asshole since I've only had a few people agree with me that microwaved chicken and turkey are straight-up disgusting.

Wishing you all an awesome week free of negativity* and hard water.

*Rob just pointed out the irony of wishing you a non-negative week whilst simultaneously starting your Tuesday with a negative post.  Touché, husband-man. To make up for it, here's an picture of Cypress being adorable. You're welcome.


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Monday, April 16, 2012

The Heath Ledger Story Continues...

So today I was working and minding my own business when I heard several coyotes howling very close by.  I have made known my theory that Cypress is playing out a "10 Things I Hate About You"-like romance with one of the coyotes, and I think that it stands to reason that we are at this point in the film, when Heath Ledger's character sings "Can't Take My Eyes off of You" to a clearly romantically overwhelmed Julia Stiles.

I took a video so you could be as entranced as I was by this extremely romantic gesture. For your benefit I even recorded Cypress's reaction. Coyote Heath Ledger's fellow coyotes, of course, are playing the role of the marching band.

Note: you'll probably have to turn your speakers up kind of high to hear them, my iPhone mic isn't the best.



All joking aside I did put Cypress in daycare today rather than walking her to keep her away from this hooligan and his marching band.

And no, this is not a dead horse and no, I'm not beating it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our Weekend: Mozzarella, Mango Lassi, & Mother Russia

Happy Sunday all!

Since our weekend is technically Friday and Saturday due to Rob's work schedule, I figured I'd share it with you now, on Sunday.  Really anything interesting that happens to us only happens when Rob's here; when I'm alone basically it can be summed up with "bed, sleep, nap, candy, food, dog-walk, TV." Doesn't make for gripping blog content, so you're welcome for sparing you.

On Friday I still had to work but Rob handled the dog-walking for me which was nice.  We ate a late lunch of parmesan-crusted mozzarella and pesto grilled cheese sammiches which were amazing.  We'll definitely be making these again soon.

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On Saturday we hung around the house and watched the Bruins, who lost in double overtime.  I also started a new book* called Nicholas and Alexandra, because I am a straight-up geek for Russian culture and history and for nonfiction books.  The book is pretty good so far, very interestingly written particularly for nonfiction.

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Rob also got his first paycheck, making us officially a two-income household. I'm so excited about this new development since I'll have help paying our bills and rent, and we'll be able to do fun things more often, like spontaneous tattoos and date nights.  On Saturday night to celebrate his slightly increased checking account he took me out for Indian food and I drank the absolute shit out of some mango lassi.

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When we checked the mail I noticed that my latest purchase from Amazon arrived! After a couple of drinks (yeah, yeah) I decided that it was really sad that we didn't have the original Star Wars trilogy (in this home we don't recognize the prequels).  I found a good deal so I went for it.

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That night we did our normal Saturday ritual, which involves the show "Celebrity Ghost Stories," and later SNL.  Has anyone else seen Celebrity Ghost Stories, on the Biography channel?  Basically celebrities tell real-life paranormal experiences from their own lives and it is so intense.  This one story was from a writer from "The Man Show" was wicked crazy, and the guy was seriously super emotional about it.  I don't know how I feel about paranormal experiences in general--having never had one--but these stories are so convincing it's scary.

Other than that things have been pretty quiet around here.  As of this coming Wednesday Rob can get called out on fires, so I assume I'll be spending a lot more time online and drinking martinis alone.  Because I'm classy, not pathetic, I assure you.

Well now, that was a bit of a pointless post now, wasn't it? Regardless, I hope you all had a great weekend full of love, happiness, happy loveliness, Indian food, tulips, and, I don't know, candy or some shit.

*I finished "Kasher in the Rye," by the way, and it was an excellent book.  At once humorous and heart-breaking, I was found myself both laughing and crying throughout the entire thing.  Definitely a wonderful story of redemption and growth.  I just hope it's true, unlike "A Million Little Pieces."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

9 Blogs I Think You Should Follow

Hello friends and new followers!

The lovely Nova wrote a post a few days ago with a list of 25 blogs that you should be reading.  I was lucky enough to be on her list (blushes bashfully) and it also inspired me to create a similar post featuring some blogs that I think you should be reading.

When I started blogging here seriously I basically just followed all the blogs that everyone followed and then saw where it went from there.  My Bloglovin' list has changed considerably since then and I think I'm finally into a groove of blogs I really enjoy reading. Below are only a few of these awesome blogs, in no particular order.

I wanted to add a few people that Nova also included in her list, but she described them better and more eloquently than I could.  Ladies, I love you for all the same reasons Nova does and you are awesome: Suzy, Ashley, Sarah. :) The others on the list I didn't know and am now following!

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Since this post was inspired by Nova I'll just start out with her.  When I first came across Nova's blog I was totally like, "thisgirlissocool" and hoped that my comments on her posts weren't totally lame.  I love that Nova says how she feels and what she thinks and doesn't sugarcoat shit.  She has my dream job of working in a tattoo shop and has some sick ink bro (ew, I promise I'll never say that again even in jest).  She writes so well and so hilariously, particularly about her wacky bus experiences.  She also has some of the badassest link posts this side of the Mississippi. Also, I'm probably going to surprise-visit her and get tattooed in the shop she works in, don't tell.

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Deanna has become a good friend of mine and I just love her blog.  Honestly, I have trouble getting into some mommy blogs, especially the ones that make motherhood sound like a fanciful romp through a field of forget-me-nots, but Deanna is real man.  I can feel the love the has for her boys and her husband through her writing, but she also so eloquently writes about the times she'd rather lock herself in the bathroom and eat chocolate.  Plus she's sexy so, you know.

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3.  Bling and Bones

I actually met Michelle, Chad and their beastie Bodhi in real life back in Arizona!  Michelle has become a really good friend to me and I always value the conversations we have in text and through Skype.  Her blog is filled with a lot of positive vibes mixed with plenty of reality and struggles as well. Michelle is a great person and I'm so glad we're friends.

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Violet has to be one of the sweetest, most genuine people I've ever "met" in the blog world. She's faced her own share of struggles and has dealt with them with grace and honesty.  It seriously irks me when people call a blogger "inspirational" for writing about stupid every day shit or how they're confronting issues everyone confronts--to me Violet is truly inspirational because she actually lives in the moment and is totally true to herself and her family. She blogs about her adorable son Roman and handsome husband Dustin, both of whom she so clearly loves with every ounce of her being.  She's just lovely and I'm always so happy whenever she posts.

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4. TART

Jessica is also a real-life friend of mine now since we totally "met" on Skype.  Her posts mostly center around her love of music (and her goal of creating her own album!), her adorable daughter Rowan and lovely husband Derek, and her bomb-ass life in Hawaii.  She's also gorgeous and doesn't get into all the blogging bullshit that so many people revel in. She's real and I love that about her. Plus she's an unapologetic consumer of alcohol, like me!

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First of all, Alice is an amazing artist and I love seeing the work she does on her blog.  She also lives in a beautiful part of New Zealand and posts tons of absolutely gorgeous photos.  She's also not one for blogging bullshit and just has really solid blog posts about her life, her kitteh, and her art.  She's also adorable and I love her accent.

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Shit, I wish military wives like No Model Lady were around when Rob was in the Army...with a few notable and awesome exceptions, the only ones I ever met were just awful and immature and awful.  No Model Lady, though, is one awesome chick.  She's beautiful, smart, funny, and just totally real.   She recently posted videos of herself reading excerpts from her childhood blog which was predictably hilarious and she wears some of the most gorgeous outfits I've ever seen (and she totally rocks them, obviously!).  Though we're out of the Army for good, I still like to read about the military life through her eyes.

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Following along with my "real" motif, Ryan has to be one of the realest chicks out there.  She's always crazy insightful and honest in her posts and doesn't shy away from touching on real topics.  I relate to her in a lot of ways, particular with anxiety and such, so I always enjoy her posts.  I think if we lived near each other we'd be good friends.

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I think Alycia is just awesome.  I loved her recent video summarizing her and her husband's cross-country trip, I love her "tips" posts, I love reading about her beasties, just everything.  I think we'd totally be friends in real life, even though now that she and I both moved we're once again on opposite coasts.

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I also met Sara when I was in Prescott! She and I are so much alike in a lot of ways; when I met her it was as though we had already known each other for a long time.  I love reading about her life in Arizona, and her upcoming cross-country RV trip with her husband.  Sara is not only an awesome person but also a published author!

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Do you guys have any recommendations for blogs I should follow?

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, April 13, 2012

This Week

Yeah, I know, another bulleted/numbered sort of post. I do these a lot.  I promise I'm not lazy. Yeah, I totally am.

This Week I:

1. Saw a new therapist!  I was making great headway with my therapist back in Maine so was a little bummed to leave. She correctly predicted that I'd put off finding somebody for myself (this shit is tough!) so before I left she printed me a list of therapists that work with the same sort of methods and that took my insurance.  HANDY right? Anyway the appointment went really well, I got an awesome vibe from her.  And she thinks my tattoos are pretty so, I'd say win-win.

2. Got rained on! Since we moved to you know, the desert and all, I expected little to no rain. SILLY ME I GUESS.

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3. Saw the Heath Ledger coyote!  On Wednesday night Rob took me up the mountain specifically to see a coyote (let me say now that in most contexts, this is a very bad idea) and we saw what I am sure was the Heath Ledger coyote of lore.  He was far away but he was totally like, staring at Cypress lovingly and shit.  We're going to see how this plays out.

4. Received a really nice tweet! Violet, one of my favorite bloggers and online people (and, I'm sure if we met in real life, one of my favorite real-life people) sent me the sweetest tweet I think I've ever gotten.  She is lovely.

5. Was included in Nova's "25 Blogs You Should Be Reading" post! Nova said some very nice things about me and my blog, and since I generally trust her taste in basically everything I plan on following her advice and following the other blogs she featured and so should YOU!

6. HOLY SHIT I FOUND OUT WE HAVE A LILAC BUSH IN OUR YARD! Rob does not share my overzealous enthusiasm for this fact but I AM SO EXCITED.  I love lilacs.  Our neighbors had a bush back in Maine and they'd let us pick some to have in our house.  I'm pretty sure if I get into heaven-slash-heaven exists, it's going to smell a lot like lilacs. By the way I imagine hipster heaven to smell a lot like Pabst, vintage clothing and bacon.  ANYWAY, since we're just renting, we had no say over the landscaping of the joint and thus I had no idea that we had lilacs until today when they started blooming. I am so fucking excited. Too bad they last all of .3 seconds, at least they do in Maine.

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7. Got hit with a weird, transient baby fever! I've had baby fever before but this was like, ovary-and-uterus-rattling baby fever.  Deep shit.  We won't be acting up on this any time soon, but what can I say, practice is fun.

8. Snuggled a lot, because fire season starts for Rob next week! We found out that Rob's new schedule, assuming he isn't on a fire, is such that his "weekend" will be Wednesday and Thursday. I'm not super thrilled with the arrangement because I work for a living and generally clients like it if you work on weekdays, but I suppose we'll make the best of it.

How was your week, friends?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I Love Thursday

The Hipster Games - I might have laughed out loud at this.

If anyone wants to buy me these tattoo bandages, my birthday is in May. Thanks Justine!

Faces of Addiction - I told myself "I'll just look through a few of these," but couldn't stop.  So poignant and heart-wrenching.  Thanks to Nova for this.

If you haven't already seen it, Nova's post last week on not apologizing was fucking awesome.  We should all take it to heart, ladies (and token gentlemen)!

An old man's reaction to hearing "his" music.  This video was absolutely beautiful and had me in tears; such a powerful testament to the power of music.  If you look at no other link in this list look at this one. Thanks to my friend Myke for this.

Fallen Princesses.

Funny Underwater Dogs. Rob and I agreed that these photos are less "funny" and more "surprisingly terrifying."

This website has free paper toys you can print out and make! Neato.

8-Bit Movie Posters.

10 Examples of Easter gone Horribly Wrong on Facebook.

If you don't follow Suzy's blog, well, you should.  This post on blogging was particularly awesome.

I don't know if I want kids, and I go back and forth on it a lot, but if I ever have a kid I hope I can create a nursery as awesome as the one Sam has created. Nothing overtly gender-specific, just simple clean lines and awesomeness.

People who thought that the Titanic disaster was only a movie, not a real thing. FACEPALM.

Letters of Note - this is a cool blog that reproduces famous letters.  The most current one (as of this publication) shows a letter written from an 18-year-old Keith Richards to his aunt in which he describes hanging out with Mick Jagger.

These airplane lavatory self-portraits in the Flemish style totally cracked me up. Thanks Lauren!

The Big Caption, wherein jokes and statements are made in typography.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Things That Make me Happy

You all likely remember my Things That Make Me Jealous post because yeah, I'm memorable.  If you missed it basically I explained in my own crotchety way those little things that make me feel jealous.

This time for your benefit I've decided in this post to be a Positive Polly (the frilly, glittery sister of Negative Nancy...totally a thing, don't worry about it) and share with you some things that have been making me happy.

1. Rob coming home from work. He's always so excited to see the dog me and is extremely thankful to have dinner on the table or at least close to it.  Plus I've taken to making our bed every day and he loves it.  

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2. Sleeping in a newly-made bed.  Even if the sheets aren't freshly cleaned it still feels more comfortable somehow.

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3. So many MST3K episodes in my possession to watch during the day.  When Rob was home he'd watch hours and hours of Kitchen Nightmares--which is apparently on all day on every channel from 12pm to around 3pm--then Ellen and The Doctors.  These shows bore the shit out of me so I've just been falling back on all the old MST3K episodes I used to watch in college.

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4. Rob doing an assload of dishes before he leaves for work so I don't have to do all of them by myself.

5. Walking Cypress during the day. Frankly this has become a source of stress ever since we got caught between two fucking coyotes calling to one another, but I haven't seen one yet so I'm slowly relaxing.  I keep imagining in my head that Cypress will meet and fall in love with one and I'll have to cruelly pull them apart because he's from the wrong side of the tracks and we don't mix with his kind. Then I don't know, Cypress will learn some crazy dance number and sing to the stars through her locked window and I'll have a change of heart and welcome the coyote into our family.**  No, I haven't been stuck at home by myself for too long.

6. Needing to wear sunscreen outside because it's so damn sunny and warm in April you guys!

7. My husband's hot ass in his work uniform, and how focused he is on looking his best when he goes to work. He's wearing hand-me-down pants now while he waits for his order to come through, and it drives him nuts how stained they are.  This is the man who wears cut-off BDU shorts that are quite literally falling apart and the same white t-shirt every single day of the week by the way.

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What is making you happy today?

**After I wrote this Cypress actually had a run-in with the coyotes, which involved her running angrily at them and them running away in fear. One of them followed her and Rob, not aggressively but just with curiosity.  Robbie had to throw a rock in its general direction to deter it from following humans, but I'm still imagining the coyote to actually be secretly in love with Cypress, who initially seems disinterested but really is turned on by his bad boy ways.  Kind of a Julia Stiles/Heath Ledger from "10 Things I Hate About You" kind of a thing.